I’m often asked in the book signing line after I get off stage how I got so comfortable speaking in front of thousands of people, especially when the fear of public speaking surpasses a fear of dying for many.
“Speaking in public terrifies me,” they’ll admit.
I would argue that it doesn’t. If we speak about the things we know — the things we really know — there is no reason to be scared. You know the ins and out, you could keep going if you lost your place, you could answer any question asked. You got this. It’s not the speaking that scares you.
It’s the silence.
There is nothing as ear-splitting as the deafening silence of thousands of people just breathing, breathing, breathing, as you make a point, pause, walk from one side of the stage to the other, and start again. It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you do it once and you don’t faint — score one for me! — you can actually start experimenting with the timing, allowing your points to hit home, your jokes to land, your story to arc, your audience to nod along, take notes, and tweet.
It’s the difference between a nervous speaker and a confident performer.
I’m still working on it, but now that I understand that comfort in speaking is comfort in NOT speaking, it’s become more fun than you can imagine to play and perfect.
Want to overcome your doubt and conquer your fear head on? Check out my book Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life.